Singhania & Partners: Advancing Fully-customized, Trusted and Authorized Law Services

(As published in Insight Success Magazine’s online edition available on this link published by Ohio bases Insight Success Media Tech LLC  publishers.)

In the present scenario, law firms are in a race to broaden topline while technology is disrupting the entire game. The current state entails law firms to shift their professional replicas towards becoming expert and master in their preferred arenas and emerging practice areas. In a continuously evolving Indian market place, law firms with an entrepreneurial spirit and high-quality practice will thrive and prosper.

Singhania & Partners LLP (Ed. 1999) is one of the prominent full-service law firms in India headquartered in New Delhi and branch offices in Bangalore and Hyderabad. The law firm is the sole Indian member of TerraLex Inc. (USA), which is a global network of 600 law offices with more than 19,000 attorneys in over 100 countries that enable them to stay well connected to serve client’s interest in different jurisdictions with their pool of trusted attorneys.

They are highly recommended by Chambers and Partners, Legal 500 and Asialaw in different practice areas. Their firm offers legal services in Corporate and Commercial, Mergers & Acquisitions, Dispute Resolution (Litigation & Arbitration), Employment, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, and Project Finance.

Truly inspiring Leader of Singhania & Partners

Ravi Singhania, Managing Partner of Singhania & Partners, instigated his own law firm after practicing law in New York for a few years. With over two decades in the profession, today he is rated amongst India’s top corporate-M&A, infrastructure, dispute resolution, and project finance lawyers. He provides legal advice as well as strategic inputs while drafting and negotiating contracts for complex transactions. Apart from being highly ranked amongst top legal luminaries of India in independent surveys conducted by Lexis Nexis Publications and Indian Corporate Counsels Association, he is also a board member in CRISIL Ltd. and Indian subsidiaries of numerous Fortune 500 companies.

Ravi Singhania and his team operate in a close knit environment and are well-coordinated to achieve client’s goal. Their lawyers have specialized expertise to serve clients’ needs. The firm provides ample informal interaction opportunities between different teams. It has specialized teams which are quickly able to adapt to work with full-service mentality and are willing to go beyond the scope of duty to ensure best interest of the clients. Their attorneys operate in a cost effective manner. “Judicious use of client’s resources is always our priority!”- Ravi asserts.

Placing Successful Strategies to Enrich Clients Base

“Client’s interest comes first!” keeping this in mind; Singhania & Partners provides practical and cost effective dispute resolution strategies. They aim of leading clients to innovative dispute resolution strategies and seek to ensure that they are able to resolve disputes rather than win cases that involve a huge cost. For the same, Ravi and his team work with contesting parties and opposite counsels to negotiate for the clients in an atmosphere of mutual cooperation.  Such skills help them deliver valuable, as well as effective services to their clients.

Singhania & Partners devote huge time and take great interest in understanding their client’s business as well as run legal services tailored to their business needs in a timely and efficient manner. Their focus lies in delivering finest solutions to the clients while striving to handle each matter as if they were representing themselves.

According to Ravi, the success of any professional services organization like theirs lies in ensuring

the best long-term interests of clients. Singhania & Partners successfully achieves this by ensuring interest and satisfaction of their internal clients. Their major focus is directed towards their work culture because each member of the team, including  highly trained associates, legal assistants and support staffs are critical to a client’s success. Members across all levels get the opportunity to prosper. They are an equal opportunity employer. For instance, one of their court clerks is now pursuing L.L.B from Delhi University and the firm is fully supportive of his educational pursuits.

Also,  number of individuals from the current young leadership in their firm has paved their way to the level of Associate Partners from trainee associates with utmost sincerity and dedication towards their profession. They owe this to a familial vibe at their workplaces which promotes honest and independent opportunities for one and all. Singhania & Partners’s work place promotes emotional support, provides encouragement and personal recognition to the firm’s members as desired.

Additionally, they enjoy great working relationship with member firms of TerraLex network and their attorneys. Thus, they are able to serve client’s needs in different jurisdictions.

Thriving Values that Signify firm’s Strength

While describing the firm’s values Ravi says, “For any professional services firm/ organization in the knowledge based industry, its people are the most critical success factor. We owe our success to specialist yet cross functional teams that interact with each other in an open, cordial and supportive atmosphere as and when required. We are valued by our clients because we provide stable teams and know how to communicate and are sensitive to their needs and concerns. Our focus is long term relationship development and value creation than short term material gains for both internal and external stakeholders.”

Future Prospects

Singhania & Partners sees expansion of office spaces and are looking forward to add more members to their teams. They anticipate the growth of their practice in the years to come in the area of India Entry Strategy, Infrastructure, Energy, E-commerce and Dispute Resolution areas.

They are also seeing themselves continuously delivering the highest quality legal services to their clients for a reasonable fee. To achieve the above objectives, Singhania & Partners is constantly investing in their resources to prepare them for future leadership roles as they see themselves incorporating new practice areas and opportunities to adapt to the growing and ever-changing needs of their clients.

Chinese state company to proceed with steel plant claim

(As reported by Global Arbitration Review, available for the subscribers on this link.)

An ICC sole arbitrator  has agreed to hear a claim by Chinese-state owned mining company Sino Steel against an Indian iron ore group, while declining to hear a counterclaim on limitation grounds.

The news came to light through a LinkedIn post published on 26 October by Singhania & Partners in New Delhi – the firm acting for Sino Steel in the case.

It read: “Our client Sino Steel won the award relating to [a] limitation issue in ICC arbitration against MSPL Ltd at Singapore. Sino Steel’s claims were held within limitation whereas respondent’s counterclaim [for] liquidated damages was held to be barred by limitation.”

Beijing-headquartered Sino Steel, which is China’s second largest importer of iron ore, will now proceed with its case against MSPL, the flagship company of the Baldota group, which was represented by Crest Law Partners.

Hearings are taking place in Singapore with Cameron Hassall – a partner at Clifford Chance in Hong Kong – as the sole arbitrator.

The dispute arose after Sino Steel assisted MSPL in the setting up of a steel plant in the Indian province of Karnataka. According to Sino Steel’s website, the companies signed a contract in 2008 to work on a 1.2-million-ton pelletising project – involving the compression or moulding of iron ore into the shape of a pellet in the initial stages of steel production.

Production started at the plant in March 2011.

Sino Steel alleges that MSPL has since failed to pay a performance guarantee provided for in the contract. The Chinese company insists it is entitled to the money as it completed its obligations and the period for guarantee has elapsed.

The company also wants payment for additional technical services that it had carried out on the plant.

MSPL’s counterclaims are understood to have been for liquidated damages and production losses.

The region of Karnataka in southwestern India has seven iron ore mines in total, two of which are operated by MSPL.

Sino Steel v MSPL Ltd 

Sole arbitrator

  • Cameron Hassell

Counsel to Sino Steel

  • Singhania & Partners

Partners Ravi Singhania and Shambhu Sharan; senior associate Gunjan Chhabra; and associate Shashaank Bhansali

Counsel to MSPL Ltd

Crest Law Partners

India: States Make Controversial Employment Law Changes

On Sept. 7, the state government of Maharashtra changed the law governing employment in retail and commercial establishments to exempt those employing fewer than 10 persons from compliance, a change estimated to affect 350,000 establishments and several million employees.

In good news for small, new, and new-entrant foreign establishments, the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act of 2017 brought the law into conformity with present-day reality by, for instance, enabling women to work hours other than 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., allowing online business registration and filing of returns, and empowering the government to fix separate opening and closing hours for various establishments, such as malls and shopping complexes.

To boost a vibrant industrial sector that contributes 14.6 percent of the country’s GDP, Maharashtra earlier this year amended the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act to exempt businesses employing fewer than 50 people from statutory provisions preventing the employment of contract workers for work considered perennial in nature. The law previously applied to businesses employing 20 or more employees. Read More

India Sends Competition Appellate Duties to Broader Court

India’s National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) will begin regularly hearing antitrust appeals for the first time when it convenes in July. Antitrust practitioners expect several new members to be appointed with competition experience.

The Indian government in May dissolved the Competition Appellate Tribunal that previously heard appeals of decisions from the Competition Commission of India. (It also dissolved seven other tribunals.)

NCLAT has now assumed the antitrust appeal duties, even though it has no expertise in antitrust and competition matters.

The change is important for multinational companies looking to merge. India is becoming a major player in global antitrust evaluations. Several recent agrochemical mergers have been reviewed in India, and a few telecom mergers, like Vodafone Group PLC and Idea Cellular Ltd have landed there as well. On June 12, India’s competition authority cleared the tie-up of Du-Pont Co. and the Dow Chemical Co.

India’s Antitrust Agency Struggling to Mature

Lupin Ltd. won’t have to pay a 730 million Rupee ($10 million) fine, as India’s antitrust enforcer is again overturned on appeal. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has seen several high-profile orders reversed recently for failing to uphold due process, delaying resolution and harming consumers and markets. In the Dec. 7 Lupin decision, the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) cited a “lack of objectivity” in CCI’s underlying investigation that resulted in “unwarranted harassment” to the drugmaker.

Competition lawyers say these reversals underscore CCI’s lack of trained experts members to rule on substantive questions of law, and a creeping complacency on procedure.

Reversed decisions
CCI is a young agency, having only become fully functional in 2009. While it was at first applauded for passing crafting nuanced orders in cases that involved highly technical issues, it has faced increasing criticism.

Last month, COMPAT reversed a few high-profile cases, saying CCI hadn’t found enough evidence of to support allegations that some multinational corporations had abused their market dominance.

In a pair of orders, COMPAT directed CCI to reexamine abuse of dominance claims against the International Air Transport Association and against foreign movie studios, including The Walt Disney Co. India, Warner Brothers Ltd., NBCUniversal Media Distribution Services Pvt. Ltd., Fox Star Studios, Sony Pictures Ltd. and Paramount Films India Ltd..

For the second time in as many years, COMPAT also recently put on hold a CCI order imposing a $1 billion penalty on cement makers and their trade association for conspiring to fix prices. The order was first held because the CCI chairperson who signed the order hadn’t attended the hearing.

The common thread running through the cases is that “one of the parties had not been afforded a reasonable opportunity to present its case and was thus seriously prejudiced by the decision of the Commission,” Ravi Singhania, managing partner at New Delhi-based Singhania & Partners, told Bloomberg BNA.

Similar problems were cited by COMPAT in reversing other CCI decisions, including:

India Trade Promotion Organisation v. CCI(decided on 1 July 1, 2016)—COMPAT said CCI’s penalty was “totally bereft of reasons” and in ignorance of “the law laid down by the Supreme Court, the High Courts and this Tribunal.
Himachal Pradesh Society of Chemist v. Rohit Medical Store(13 Jan. 13, 2016)—COMPAT set aside CCI’s order citing a flawed investigation by the agency’s director general.
M/s. All India Motor Transport Congress v. Indian Foundation of Transport Research & Training (April 18, 2016)—COMPAT quashed CCI’s order due to an incomplete investigation.
The Air Cargo Agents Association of India v. CCI(Nov. 15, 2016)—COMPAT found a complaint had been filed under Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act but CCI ignored the allegations under Section 4 entirely in its order. COMPAT ruled that the director general had “committed serious illegality” and ordered CCI to reinvestigate the case and issue a fresh order.
M/s. Narendra Explosive Ltd v. CCI(May 10, 2016)—CCI was found to have issued an order against a party not involved in the matter and which had applied to have its name struck from the proceedings. CCI never responded to the application.
What It Means
COMPAT seems to be telling CCI—a very young regulator—that, in its hurry to set up a merit-based system and establish jurisprudence, it should be careful not to establish wrong precedents, Tarun Mathur, a Mumbai-based competition lawyer, told Bloomberg BNA Nov.23. Since the CCI is a quasi-judicial body, and not an administrative one, procedures should be correct and strictly followed, he said.

Most CCI members are former bureaucrats with little or no experience and or training in judicial procedures, Singhania said. Their administrative bias seeps through the way they proceed at the agency, and they often fail to follow statutory procedures even when correct on substantive law.

Antitrust lawyers agree that the large number of orders reversed over the last year shows complacency or even callousness, especially in procedural matters, and an inability to set things right, Singhania said. COMPAT has had to become a disciplinarian, frequently remitting matters back to the CCI or the director general, which prolongs the adjudicatory process. In the long run, he said, this could be detrimental to the market as well as consumers.

Vinay Kumar Sanduja, an advocate specializing in competition law associated with Dua Associates in New Delhi, told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 25 that frequent appeals to the COMPAT and the Supreme Court are part of the process through which India’s nascent competition regime will be able to settle positions of law and procedure.

Practitioners should be vigilant about their clients’ rights under the Competition Act, he said. Attorneys must themselves be well-versed with procedural regulations, including timelines for filing information on anticompetitive conduct, filing mandatory notices for proposed combinations and for seeking confidentiality of documents.

Neither CCI nor COMPAT responded to requests for comment.